Finding Wombat’s sister Judy dead was the last thing Punter had expected when Judy phoned him about his old surfing pal Wombat’s apparent disappearance. Judy usually saw her brother Vinnie (aka Wombat) at least a couple of times a week, but he hadn’t been around for at least a week, and when he failed to turn for a regular Friday night hook up she had got worried.
John Punter, former strapper and son of a well known trainer, makes his living by betting at the races, and to a large extent can do as he pleases. Through a racecourse detective Punter learnt that there were some heavies looking for Wombat. Rumour said that Wombat had been betting big and losing heavy and that the loan sharks were after him. Wombat was employed as a strapper and his room at the stables had been trashed and it looked very much like he’d done a runner.
The search for Wombat leads Punter and his friend Kate, an investigative journalist at the Age, from Melbourne up the coastal road as far north as Brisbane, uncovering connections with big money and illegal drugs.
PUNTER’S LUCK is Peter Klein’s debut crime fiction entry. (I read and reviewed the second, PUNTER’S TURF a month or so ago). Klein is certainly an Australian writer to watch.
There are many characters in PUNTER’S LUCK who reappear in the second novel: Kate the journalist, Punter’s father DJ and his brother David, Beering the racecourse detective, Punter’s cat Chan, even a reference to big Oakie White who is a central character in PUNTER’S TURF
There’s an Australian flavour to this novel that comes from the settings, places, and colloquialisms. You come away feeling that Klein has laid an excellent foundation on which to build a series. His writing is polished and assured, and story flows easily. A satisfying read.
My rating 4.4